(Last Updated on : 27-06-2015)
Ratha Yatra, also called Roth Jatra or Chariot Festival, is a famous festival of the Hindus. It is celebrated with great grandeur in Odisha
, in commemoration of Lord Jagannath
who is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu
. During this festival, Lord Jagannath, along with his brother Lord Balabhadra
and sister Subhadra
are transported on a chariot. In Oriya language
, Ratha means chariot and yatra means journey. The festival originated in Puri
in the State of Odisha. The history
of this festival is associated with many legends.
Legends of Ratha Yatra
The festival has been celebrated since ancient times. According to a legend about its origin, Jagannath is said to have expressed his desire to visit his birthplace every year for a week. Thus, the deities are taken to the Gundicha Mandir every year. According to another legend, Kansa invited brothers Lord Krishna and Balram to Mathura for a wrestling competition with the aim of killing them. Kansa
who is their maternal uncle sent Akrur with a chariot to Gokul
Both the brothers sat on the chariot and headed for their destination. The devotees celebrate this day of departure as Rath Yatra
. The people of Dwaraka
celebrates this festival on the day when Lord Krishna
, accompanied by his brother Balabhadra, took his sister Subhadra, for a ride on a chariot to show the beauty of Dwaraka.
In the temple of Jagannath
, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra are also worshiped. There is an interesting story associated with the presence of three deities in this temple
. Once the queens of Lord Krishna requested mother Rohini
to share the many interesting amorous episodes of Lord Krishna. Rohini found it improper of Subhadra to hear such stories of Krishna so she sent her away. However, by now Subhadra along with Krishna and Balaram appeared on the scene and the Vrajkatha had soon absorbed them. At this time arrived Narad
who on finding the siblings standing together motionless prayed, "May the three of you grant darshan in this manner forever." The boon was granted and thus the siblings forever reside in the Temple of the Lord Jagannath. That is why every year, along with Lord Krishnas chariot, the chariots of Balabhadra and Subhadra are also carried out in procession. The chariots are pulled by devotees from Janakpur
to the temple in Jagannath Puri. This is the only temple in world where three siblings are worshipped together. The festival attracts a large number of people from different corners of the world.